HOWEVER elusive a U.S.-Russian agreement on the Middle East seems, the important fact remains that the world's two major powers continue to meet in an effort to ease the region's tensions. In a major policy statement to the Supreme Soviet last week, Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko indicated that Moscow would like to expand such efforts into other areas. The speech was a broad appeal for a constructive and friendly relationship with the U.S. While it offered no dramatic assurance of any substantial change in Soviet aims or attitudes, Gromyko's tone was more conciliatory than anything heard from Moscow in many years.


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